Leaders: Trust Can Change Everything


Building trust is one of the most critical challenges facing our society today. It is what we as leaders should all be about.

We are in a crisis of trust. 

It affects us on all levels; societal, institutional, organizational, relational, and personal. And It has a perpetuating effect.

Research shows:

  • Only 51% of employees have trust and confidence in senior management
  • Only 36% of employees believe their leaders act with honesty and integrity
  • Over the past 12 months, 76% of employees have observed illegal or unethical conduct on the job. If exposed, these actions would seriously violate the public trust.

What Drives Employees Away?

The number one reason people leave their jobs is due to their  bad relationship with their boss.

In my years of work with 360° assessments I have found that the question, “Do you trust your boss?” is question thought about with true concern.

This is the one question that is more predictive of team and organizational performance than any other question we ask. Trust is the glue that bonds great people, processes, and environments; it ensures long-term success. In life and business, relationships are important, but they are empty unless they are established and based on trust.

“Trust is the fundamental building block for a brand and it is the glue for any lasting relationship.”~ Horst H. Schultz

There are 10 drivers of employee engagement. Trust people had in their leader is the #1 driver. When the organization trusts its leaders, and everyone becomes trustworthy, then people can operate synergistically and non-defensively.

Trust enables employees to work quickly and efficiently to achieve great results for their employers.

Implementing Trust and Engagement

Trust and engagement are twin engines; as you increase trust it drives engagement and becomes a virtuous upward cycle.

Trust is the root driver of engagement.

If people don’t trust you, they won’t engage no matter how many other drivers are working. Employees need to trust you have their best interests in mind.

When you move the needle on trust you will increase engagement.

“No quality or characteristic is more important than trust. It is the foundation for building a team.”~ Patrick Lencioni

  • You always need to start with yourself:
  • How engaged am I with my team and people?
  • How credible am I?
  • In my presentations I often ask audiences to consider the question, “Who do you trust?”

A friend? A work associate? Your boss?

  • Why do you trust this person?
  • What is it that inspires the trust of others?
  • Then I ask them, “Who trusts you?”
  • What is it that inspires the trust of others?

According to a fabulous book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” the definitions of trust include:  


  • Environment of good will and caring
  • Positive interactions
  • Appreciation expressed
  • Fair
  • Confidences maintained
  • “Well-being” is looked after
  • People willing to go the extra mile


  • Walking the talk
  • Truthfulness
  • Agreements honored
  • Authenticity
  • Responsibilities accepted
  • Manipulation avoided
  • Committed to doing what is right


  • Consistency
  • Dependability
  • Demonstrated commitment
  • Dedicated to mission
  • Diligent


  • Open communications
  • Genuine talking and listening
  • Sharing important information
  • Important information not hidden
  • Shared decision-making
  • Shared power


  • Perform to expectations
  • Demonstrated skill in areas of professional accountability
  • Setting standards of excellence
  • Results oriented
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Willingness to fulfill responsibilities

Trust Starts with You

It is about our willingness to be vulnerable, our credibility, and how you behave. Do what you say and follow through with actions. Make a commitment and keep it.

“If you think the problem is out there, that very thought is the problem.”~ Steven Covey

Has your team built a high trust culture?

Build it Yourself

Trust is tangible, measurable, and most importantly, something that we can build more easily than we think.

“I am convinced that in every situation, nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. And, contrary to popular belief, trust is something  you can do something about. In fact, you can get good at creating it.” Steven Covey.

It is possible not only to build trust, but also to restore it. I have seen in done over and over again. Obviously, there are some circumstances in which trust has truly been damaged beyond repair or where others may not give us a chance to restore it, but I am convinced that for most of us, these circumstances are few.

I believe our ability to restore trust is much, much greater than we think.

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.”~ Chinese proverb

Trust is at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team.

Patrick Lencioni’s organization has an incredible assessment I have very effectively utilized to help companies learn how to use the Five Dysfunctions to transform their organizations. If you are interested in learning feel free to leave your input and any way I can further assist you with your interest/questions.

How would you rate yourself on these behaviors? How would you team rate you?Are you believable? Are you credible? Am I someone my people can trust? Am I someone I can trust? Has your team built a high trust culture? When are you going to start and what are the first steps you are going to take?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Kristi Royse

Kristi Royse is CEO of KLR Consulting
She inspires success in leaders and teams with coaching and staff development

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Articles | Services | (650) 578-9626

Image Sources: pauldunay.com


6 responses to “Leaders: Trust Can Change Everything

  1. Pingback: The Enabling Power of Trust | Foxwood Associates·

  2. Thanks for the timely post of this blog – I will be using it with a client this afternoon. This is a great resource!


    • Happy to hear it was helpful Craig. Two books I would highly recommend; Steven Covey Smart Trust and The Speed of Trust. I will be writing a newsletter and article with more details and if you wish to be added to my mailing list let me know.


  3. Pingback: Leaders: Trust Can Change Everything « learningservicesblog·

  4. Pingback: Importance Of Trust In Leadership | Blog For Public-Liability-Quotes.co.uk·

  5. Pingback: Leadership and The Ugly Four-Letter Word: Fear | Linked 2 Leadership·

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